Microsoft Translator (and Bing Translator) Official Team Blog

News and Views from the Microsoft Translator (and Bing Translator) Team in Microsoft Research.

  • Microsoft Translator (and Bing Translator) Official Team Blog

    Microsoft Translator celebrates International Mother Language Day with the release of Hmong

    • 14 Comments

    · In celebration of International Mother Language Day, we are pleased to announce the addition of the Hmong language to our list of supported languages, made possible by a close partnership with the Hmong community. Anyone can now try out the new language on the Bing Translator site, or call it via the Microsoft Translator web service (Hmong Daw, language code mww). clip_image002Hmong Daw is the dialect of Hmong the system supports, also known as White Hmong.

    Instrumental to this effort were members of the Hmong community, who were able to leverage new tools from Microsoft Translator to help preserve and revitalize their language online. These new tools, currently in beta, enable automatic translation support for additional languages, or building higher quality systems for specific terminology and style in the established languages.

    The addition of the Hmong language is an example of the first scenario: Members of the community utilized existing translated material and new features of Microsoft Translator to train a new translation engine. This leveraged Microsoft Translator’s learning abilities, which can learn how to translate from a set of parallel documents (same document in two languages), dictionaries and texts in the language to translate to (Hmong in this case). In addition to teaching the engine a new language, they also involved members of the community, partners and collaborators to create and review improved versions of the automated translation system, and collect qualitative feedback about each “trained” system. Deploying a system that reaches a certain level of quality allows seamless use with the standard Microsoft Translator APIs, and many scenarios powered by the API, like the web translation widget. Feedback that is generated through these scenarios can be utilized again in the training process – creating a virtuous loop for improving the translation quality. Stay tuned for more details about these new tools/features.

    Once again, on International Mother Language day, we congratulate the Hmong community on their accomplishment. We are looking forward to working with many more partners and language communities in the near future.

  • Microsoft Translator (and Bing Translator) Official Team Blog

    Top Sites Going Global with Translator API

    • 7 Comments

    The ability to use language and the capacity to translate between languages is one of the characteristics that define us as humans. Over the last decade, world class researchers - both at our own research labs and around the world have been working on the problem of machine translation, the results of which you are able to enjoy today on Bing and in many other Microsoft products.

    Last month at the BUILD conference, Satya Nadella, (President, Server and Tools Business at Microsoft) announced the global, high volume commercial availability of the Translator API. This was a significant milestone for us, as we had seen a tremendous increase in demand from partners who see it adding great value to their customers and wanted the reliability, performance and scale of a Microsoft service. It was an added bonus that we were able to deliver this class of service to our partners at a significantly lower price than alternatives. Over the past few months, the diversity and volume of partners using our API has increased rapidly and continues to grow.

    A few weeks ago, Facebook rolled out translations powered by our service to many of their major markets across the world. With a user base larger than most countries of the world (barring India and China), and with 75% of the users from outside the US – Facebook is a great example of how the translation API can help partners break down language barriers.

    clip_image001

    Facebook joins many other partners including Trip Advisor, Harper Collins, Elsevier, Webster and eBay who are utilizing the translation API in innovative new ways to bring their services and content to new audiences and new languages. We hope to showcase many of these in the coming months on the Translator blog.

    Today at Web 2.0, in a session titled “The Future of Big Data & the Global Web” we will be outlining the value that this data driven service provides to businesses as they look to expand their business and audience globally. We will also provide an inside look at how the service is built, and showcase some of the partners that have utilized the Translator service to great effect.

    The Translator API offers instant text translation, language detection functionality, text-to-speech in multiple languages and innovative collaborative translation functionality. It was designed from ground up for partner use, and thus provides a choice of API interfaces: SOAP, AJAX, HTTP or OData, allowing developers to choose what works best for their scenario. If you are a web site owner looking for a simpler, no-code solution – the free webpage translation widget might be the best choice. It utilizes the same APIs, and provides additional community focused tools to customize the translations to your site and content in partnership with your visitors. A comprehensive FAQ is available here.

    We believe in the idea of “Translation being a utility, and not a destination”, and you can join us in supporting that notion by utilizing the API to break down language walls on the web today. Subscribe to the free tier of service to get started. You can always upgrade to a higher level of service if you need to.

    Vikram Dendi,
    Director of Product Management,
    Microsoft/Bing Translator

    Also posted to the Bing Search blog.

  • Microsoft Translator (and Bing Translator) Official Team Blog

    Microsoft Translator API now supports OData, pricing details for higher volumes announced

    • 0 Comments

     

    Microsoft President Satya Nadella announced major new milestones for the Translator API at his BUILD conference keynote today. We would like to provide some additional detail about the announcement here.

    The headlines:

    1. Microsoft Translator API available via the Windows Azure Marketplace at various volume levels to meet your needs
    2. Reiterating our support for standards by supporting OData and adding standards based (OAuth) authentication for greater security
    3. Publishing the pricing model for the various subscription tiers to best fit your needs (in addition to the free tier that we currently offer)

    Starting today developers can directly sign up for the Microsoft Translator service on the Windows Azure Marketplace at the level of volume they expect to use. Windows Azure Marketplace is the one stop shop for cloud data, apps and services and we are pleased to utilize this platform to deliver the Translator API to developers.  Provisioning the Microsoft Translator API through the Marketplace allows us to deliver the service at higher volumes than we previously could offer, along with the facility to upgrade to higher volume on demand. Additionally, the Marketplace provides a world-class ecommerce back-end which enables us to better serve our global Translator partners and grow with demand.

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    We are also pleased to announce the addition of OData to our already diverse set of interfaces (SOAP, HTTP & AJAX) to the Microsoft Translator service. Once you subscribe to the offer on Azure Marketplace, you can explore the Odata end point by using the Service Explorer. Starting now, developers are also able to use standards based two-leg authentication (OAuth) to secure calls to API (irrespective of the end point they are using). The full details are available in our developer documentation.

     

    Service Explorer

    In response to the tremendous demand from existing as well as new partners that wish to utilize a reliable, consistently available, and developer friendly service, we are also pleased to announce pricing for higher volume usage today. In addition to a no-cost tier that is designed for low-volume and hobbyist use, you can today subscribe to higher volume tiers at an attractive price point. You can subscribe to tiers ranging from 4M (million) characters a month onwards, priced at US $10 per million characters. As an introductory offer, we are also announcing a 120 day (4 month) promotional free trial on all paid subscriptions for a limited time. We hope this would allow you to use the service and determine the volume level you would need for your scenario. Existing licensees and users of our API are not affected by this announcement and will have plenty of notice to prepare for the eventual transition onto the unified Marketplace based platform. Please refer to the frequently asked questions (FAQ) page for more details.

    Nearly five years ago, we first said “hello world” on this blog. Since then, thanks to an ever increasing user base and enthusiastic developer and business partners we have come a long way. As a team of researchers and engineers at Microsoft Research, we continue to strive to deliver value to Microsoft partners and users worldwide by combining research investments with product development. In addition to our the API, we also provide translation experiences through Bing Translator – our consumer focused webpage and text translation site, through Office, Bing Bar, Internet Explorer and much more. Please don’t hesitate to send us your feedback, comments and questions. We have vibrant user and developer communities where you can discuss the service or ask for help. For questions that aren’t answered in the FAQ or the community, you can also email us at mtcont@microsoft.com (for general comments), or at mtlic@microsoft.com (for specific licensing questions). Please direct any press inquires to mtcont@microsoft.com.

    We hope to see you soon from the other side of a translation request!

    Vikram Dendi
    Director of Product Management
    Microsoft Translator

    Updated (9/22): Clarification added to title that the free tier of service is not going away.

  • Microsoft Translator (and Bing Translator) Official Team Blog

    Announcement: New Microsoft Translator release delivers community tools to customize translations and API enhancements

    • 6 Comments

    I am pleased to announce the release of the latest version of Microsoft Translator, with a focus on user features and user experience. This release brings some major new features, and a slew of improvements based on feedback from you – our users and partners.Here are some of the highlights of this release:

    Microsoft Translator Widget:

    • Manage Translators: The popular Microsoft Translator widget, which has been used by thousands of websites to instantly deliver translated pages to their visitors, is receiving a major update. The collaborative translations feature that we released as a technology preview last year is now complete, and adds a user and role management system that enables site owners to collaborate with their visitors, trusted translators and moderators to tailor the translations to their content. The sometimes less than perfect quality of the Machine Translation system is no longer preventing you from delivering your site in high quality to a worldwide audience!
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    • Manage Translations: Now that you can invite experts, your friends or your users to help tailor the translations for your site, how do you manage all these edits that are flowing in? How to make sure you can weed out edits that might not really be relevant for your content? What about languages that you don’t know? Delivered in this release is also a dashboard to moderate and approve translation edits in bulk. The site owner and the invited users can utilize the dashboard to approve, moderate or hide alternative translations in bulk.
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    • See sentences with pending suggestions: In addition to using the bulk editing feature, you can also simply browser the pages and see which translations have pending suggestions. The widget will highlight for you what you need to look at and approve or reject. A blue highlight is for the translation suggestions, a red highlight is for the pending rejections.
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    • Fresh new design: A fresh new design for the Collaborative Translation functionality. Based on feedback from beta users, and taking into account usability considerations we refreshed and streamlined the user experience of showing/editing alternative translations. This should make it easier for users to immediately get some information about how the community is using the alternatives, select their favorite alternative or provide a new alternative.
      image

    Microsoft Translator API:

    I wanted also to reiterate that our API is not going away, and we continue to be focused on adding value to our partners through continued improvements. In this release we have made several improvements based on your feedback. We are very pleased to see the many applications and scenarios that are being built using the API, and we hope to showcase more of them on this blog. If you would like your application showcased, contact us at mtcont@microsoft.com. If you would like to use the API for production purposes, just send an email to mtlic@microsoft.com to receive the free use commercial license agreement. As you can imagine, we are seeing a significant increase in these requests so we greatly appreciate your patience in waiting for a response.

    • Full access to the edits from your community: We promised to give you access to the alternative translations that have been generated as you worked with your community to tailor the translations to your site or scenario. We are pleased to add this functionality to the Microsoft Translator API. It is beta, so please be gentle. Smile 
    • More flexibility around API traffic limits: We are removing the fixed limit on the number of requests per minute that you could push to the service. We are replacing it with a more flexible mechanism that we will outline in an upcoming blog post.

    There you have it. Some of the awesome new features in this release. For those of you who have been patiently waiting for invitations to try out the collaborative features of the widget, you should start seeing these invitations arrive in batches starting now.

    Stay tuned for more detailed information on each of these features and more!

    Vikram Dendi
    Group Product Manager
    Microsoft Translator

  • Microsoft Translator (and Bing Translator) Official Team Blog

    Showcasing some great consumer applications powered by Microsoft Translator API

    • 10 Comments

    While we are quite proud of the applications and services that we have built, we are even prouder of the many wonderful applications built by our partners using our extensive set of APIs. In this series, we wish to highlight some of these apps.

    Polyglot – an elegant Windows Phone translator application

    You might have used the free Translator app on the Windows Phone marketplace, but you should definitely give Polyglot from Very Software a try. With a beautiful interface that works in either orientation and delivering translations on the go – Polyglot is undoubtedly one of the best looking Windows Phone applications in the market.

    Large PC app tile 200x200  polyglot screenshot 01

    Home Page

    Kywix Babilia HD – a highly functional application for iPad which offers translation and more

    One of the fast growing applications that is well optimized for the larger touchscreen. Integrates with Dropbox for source material, and with Facebook and Twitter for quick sharing of translated content. Check out the various elegant touches – including the capability to translate PDF, learn new vocabulary and tv-out support.

    appArtH  Babilia1

    Home page

    There are many other free and paid applications built using Microsoft Translator APIs - we would love to hear of any others you would like showcased here.

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